its unity. asean is developing into an economic by 2015, working for integration through measures liken hansing infrastructure and standardizing customs procedures. noda will announce the aid at a summit meeting with the block's leaders friday. he hopes the support will expand infrastructure exports and investment in the region. japan will participate in 33 projects. these include improving major roads and airports, introducing efficient customs procedures and long term disaster satellites. japan will engage in fund-raising efforts in cooperation with the asean development bank. aside from that plan, he will back the support for research on a road building project to link a port town in southern myanmar to the thai border. the assistance is to encourage construction of roads crossing that region. through the measures, the japanese government hopes to
boost relations to asean to counter china's growing influence in southeast asia. asean leaders in bali awarded myanmar for reform efforts. they promise a key leadership role in the block. we have more details of the meeting. >> reporter: ten leaders of asean are meeting here in bali to discuss several important issues for the region. myanmar took the spotlight and the government is now officially set to become chair of the regional block. the leaders unanimously agreed myanmar would chair the organization in 2014. the high profile role would give international recognition to one of the most authoritarian states. myanmar was originally in line to take rotating chairmanship in 2006 but asean decided to skip
their turn out of consideration for human rights abuses by its former military leaders. after the meeting, the myanmar information meeting welcomed asean's decision. >> translator: we see harmony at home and abroad and will push for democracy. >> current asean chair indonesia also had a news conference explaining the group's intention. >> it is agreement of the fact that significant changes, significant developments have taken place in myanmar. we are trying to ensure that the process of change continues. the momentum is maintained. >> myanmar had a general election last year, ending decades of military rule. the civilian led administration of the president was in august rated in maran has taken steps towards democratization. held a dialogue with a pro-democracy leader and released some political prisoners. earlier this week gave a
cautious welcome to the prospect of myanmar chairing asean, although she called for more progress towards democracy. the united states has indicated it may be ready to improve ties with myanmar, and that could include lifting of sanctions, dependent on continued reform, such as release of more political prisoners. now our reporter from nhk's jakarta bureau joins us with analysis. is the asean leader's decision to award myanmar the role of chairman a sign they approve of its progress towards dmokitization? >> yes. most asean nations have been positive about myanmar taking chairmanship from the outside. they postponed a decision taking into consideration a position from the united states and europe. but recently, myanmar has taken steps to promote democracy that enabled asean to give the
chairmanship with confidence. there's also a sense of crisis among asean members, they believe myanmar cannot remain alone. they are work to go achieve regional community by 2015. they fear that myanmar could hold back progress towards that goal. with that in mind, asean is now ready to take responsibility for myanmar's democritization. >> how might taking the chairmanship role at asean affect myanmar's internal situation? >> people in myanmar expressed hope that it might help them advance towards their goal of a better life. >> translator: it's great. now we can expect reliable electricity, better internet connections, better phone connections, and wider network, all up to the international
standard. >> translator: as the chair country of asean, the government will have to work within the international community. that will benefit the country. >> now, the decision is likely to be a key test for myanmar to return to the international community. as myanmar up to the challenge? >> well, becoming chair of asean was a long held wish of myanmar. now the government faces another major, getting economic sanctions imposed by u.s. and european countries lifted. the government of myanmar apparently wants to revitalize its economy by resolving this issue. other countries are eyeing lifting of sanctions and seeking ways to improve ties with myanmar. the country is likely to find itself a focus of international attention as an untapped market because of its long history of military rule.
>> thank you very much. now, the president of the united states, barack obama, has arrived here in bali, and on saturday he'll attend the east asia summit. a first for a u.s. president. friday, asean leaders will have separate meetings with counter parts from china, japan, and the united states, likely discussing items in the south china sea claimed by some asean members and china. join us tomorrow for an update on those delicate discussions. i am reporting from bali. all right. we have the latest business news. italy's prime minister has a lot on his plate, enormous measure. must have a lot of pressure, he needs down to bring down high debt and boost growth. he made a speech yesterday. what did he say? >> he underlined the need for cost cutting. the prime minister told parliament he will carry out
austerity measures and reforms, saying these will lead to economic growth for the country. monti made his first policy speech thursday. he pointed out three pillarsed government needs to focus on to reduce public debt. fiscal rig or, economic growth and fairness. he expressed resolve to cut a huge amount of sovereign debt saying the future of the euro will depend what italy does in coming weeks. he then said his government will cut partnership tree and other budgets to ensure fair system for pensions, unemployment, and taxes. but this is not doing much to ease contagion fears. bond yields in spain rose to 7% thursday, pulling the country deeper into the eurozone debt crisis. this level considered unestablishable, making it tough for spain to conduct fiscal reconstruction on its own. the yield on spanish ten year
government bonds temporarily surged to 6.8%. this prompted traders to sell a wide range of eurozone sovereign debt. pushed the yield on italian ten year government bonds to above 7% at one point. sale orders increased for the bonds in france and austria as well, whose credit ratings are among the highest. yields declined as the government bought the government bonds of spain and italy in the afternoon. the central bank was the only active buyer in the european bond markets greece has seen its first mass demonstration since the inauguration of the new coalition government under lucas papademos. over 30,000 people, including labor union members held massive rallies in athens to mark the 1973 student uprising against the military government. the demonstrators voiced opposition to belt-tightening measures imposed under the previous government. this includes tax hikes and cuts in public sector jobs. they also demanded the government put no further burden on the public.
the prime minister won a vote of confidence in parliament with over 80% of lawmakers in favor of the austerity bill. now let's check the markets. the dow-jones closed lower on further concerns about debt problems in europe. see how stocks are starting this morning in tokyo. we were to ramin. >> good morning. we saw trade in new york, weighed down by financial stocks, weighed down by further concerns about eurozone debt issues and saw commodity related stocks trade lower. gold, wti crude and copper prices falling over 3%. so we're going to keep track of those sectors. down over 100 points for the nikkei, and down almost ten
points on topix. yesterday, the nikkei ended higher, but the way things are trading, looks like it will close lower for the week. volume has been a little less than average this week compared to last week, with earnings season coming to a close, and also questions in the marketplace about full resolution to the eurozone debt problems. now, domestic cli, focus on olympus shares. it was down around 80% at one point since the corporate bookkeeping scandal broke out. monday through wednesday, was up around 50%. then yesterday was trading up by 18%, only to lose most of that into the close, and this morning it has been down in a volatile session so far, around 6 to 7%. olympus shares are a big focus. let's look at the other markets. yen still gaining with the euro
in the past few days on uncertainty surrounding eurozone debt and rising bond yields in italy, spain, and now france. you can see 103.54-56. euro yen, 76.98-99. let's not forget all these issues have hidden the fact that economic data from the u.s. this week have proven to be dronger than what and lists expected. retail sales, industrial production, and inflation numbers, largely in check, and also we had jobless claims yesterday show a more positive side there. we'll see if fundamentals can break through what's been gripping the markets, which is the eurozone debt issues. for now, nikkei down over 100 points this friday morning. back to you. >> thanks a lot for that. let's look at some other market figure
that's the latest from business. back to katherine. >> thanks very much. the japanese government ordered fukushima prefecture to suspend rice shipments. from one district of the region. radioactive cesium higher than allowable levels has been detected in rice grown there after the nuclear accident at fukushima daiichi. >> translator: i told the fukushima governor to ban shipments of rice harvested this year in the onami district of fukushima city. >> the fukushima prefectural
government on wednesday announced it detected 630 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram of rice in samples from a field in the onami district. the national permissible level for rice is 500 becquerels per kilogram. fujimura noted radioactive material higher than state limits was detected in preshipment tests and no rice of such levels has entered the market. he asked the governor to determine the cause of the contamination and strengthen inspections of rice in and around the onami district. we will look at a place that's been restricted for good reason. fukushima daiichi power plant has been gripping our attention. on today's nuclear watch we go inside. 3 dozen journalists toured it last saturday. he tells us what he saw. he is speaking in japanese and we provide simultaneous
interpretation. >> translator: yes, we have been asking since immediately after the accident to open the site to the media to the japanese government and tepco, but we were not allowed to because we were told that we may obstruct the works and the radiation was very high, but eight months had passed, and cooling of the reactors has stabilized, and we were able to accompany the minister in charge of the nuclear accident, along with other media people. i boarded the bus and went through the main gate. first we went to the main gate, and then we went through the higher ground road, and through the purification facility, and went through the seaside route, and then went to the living quarter. and discovering of this site, we had to limit the radiation level
to 100 microsieverts. time and routes were limited. so this is before the departure. in order to go inside the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant site, you have to wear the protection gears, and you also have to wear a special mask so you would not take in air inside. it is quite stifling, but very hot for people that would have to work for long hours. and this is the front base of the workers, j village, and it is 20 kilometers from the nuclear power plant. after we entered the site, the first thing that came to us or first thing i saw was the tanks. there were a lot of tanks there. this is to contain the decontaminated water. $200,000 of tanks are being
installed every month on the accident site. eight months have passed since the accident, and the media was able to enter to the site for the very first time, and it is completely destroyed. this is the place where we can have a view of the entire accident, and the radiation levels were 15 microsieverts per hour. the fourth reactor was seen on the right-hand side, and everything was completely destroyed. it was totally destroyed. i have been covering the nuclear power plants for a long time, but it was really frightening to see such strong, concrete buildings could be destroyed easily. then we went to seaside road, and the radiation level gradually increased, and on the right-hand side, you can see the
bags with rubble inside. this is temporary sea wall, and the highest part was four meters, so it means 40 meters above sea level. everything on the seaside is just completely damaged and devastated. everything was washed away because of the tsunami. and the radiation reading is 300 microsieverts per hour and the bus is accelerating. and this is from number four reactor to number three reactor, and the radiation level is still quite very high. it reads about several thousand microsieverts per hour. and then we saw number five and number six reactor, and lastly we went to the living quarter. and does i am ters are handed
out here. immediately after the accident, it was so confused, and not every worker was able to have a does i am ter. now everything is managed with bar code. each person can have one. this is a place where you undergo screening. immediately after the accident, everything was so confused that you didn't even have a place to sleep or eat, but now things are much better. but this man, the director of the fukushima daiichi nuclear power plant says still the situation is very tough on the ground. >> translator: the radiation levels remain high, so when it comes to working every day, there is still danger. it's a huge challenge to maintain worker safety and to secure enough workers for the future. >> the important thing is to secure enough number of people,
eight months have passed, and 3,000 people have been working to settle this accident and without their efforts, we have not been able to achieve this recovery. however, people well versed with plants tend to be exposed with high radiation, and so it's important to get the robots, but minute work like connecting pipes or closing the bulbs will have to be done by people and insist it takes more than 30 years to decommission the power plant, so it's really important to create an environment where workers can work with ease. in any case, it's important to settle this accident as soon as possible, and also restore fukushima that we know, and this is a common goal. for that, it is important to assemble all the wisdom inside
and outside japan and accelerate all the works, and also create the opportunities such as to open up for media and do the work under information disclosure. "newsline" is the place to turn to for the latest on japan, post march 11th. we have two segments offering two unique perspectives on the fallout from the earthquake and tsunami. nuclear watch brings insight and information on the fukushima daiichi crisis, and the road ahead examines japan's efforts to recover and rebuild. don't miss nuclear watch and the road ahead on "newsline". the king of bhutan has expressed hope that japan will take a greater role as a leader in the global community. king jigme khesar namgyel wangchuck was visiting the diet with queen jetsun pema on thursday as part of the couple's six-day visit to japan. in a speech in the lower house, the king referred to the march disaster.
he said the japanese people have handled a terrible crisis with great strength. >> if there is one nation that can rise stronger and greater from such adversity, it is japan and her people . >> the king said his nation is convinced that the united nations security council must be expanded to better deal with global challenges. he added that japan should take a leading role in the international framework. the king concluded his speech by praying for japan's well-being in bhutanese. he received a standing ovation from the lawmakers. the royal couple will visit disaster hit fukushima prefecture on friday. it is an overcast and chilly morning in tokyo. let's find out the forecast for japan and other countries.
a developing system is approaching japan producing heavy rain, strong winds and thunderstorms to western japan. we are expecting 200 millimeters of rain here, and it will spread to this region saturday. in terms of temperatures, warm air will flow in. we can look forward to warmer than average temperatures nationwide throughout the day. the same system is producing heavy rain in the southern tip of the korean peninsula. for china, it is wet in the east, northeastern portions are looking at up to ten centimeters of snow in the next 24 hours, extremely wet in this area. and rain could develop as you head into saturday. for taiwan, on-going heavy rain, the ground well saturated. this area is especially prone to flooding and land slides. to the south, the northern half of the philippines and southern
tip of indochina peninsula remain wet through the day. we expect 19 degrees in tokyo, with cloudy skies. 16 in seoul. dropping to minus 11 in this area. heading to the americas, things are quiet in the east, southern tip of florida peninsula and atlantic coast of northeastern states and eastern canada looking at some showers, but it should taper off as you head into friday. a northwesterly flow is producing lake effect snow across the great lakes. snow could become heavy at times. out towards the west, a significant amount of snowfall is impacting southern british columbia, the pacific northwest and northern rockies. up to four to five centimeters of snow in the cascades and strong winds are a big concern. stormy conditions will also effect the northern plains as well as the western great lakes in the next 24 hours.
as for friday's highs, we expect minus 3 degrees in winnipeg, 9 in chicago. dropping to the single digits in washington, d.c. with 8 degrees, with plenty of sunshine. finally, let's go over to europe then. a couple of fronts are producing heavy rain and scattered thunderstorms across islands and the northern uk. conditions will be the same the next couple days. london area will escape rain. and the same system will effect the western iberian peninsula by friday afternoon. up towards the north, remaining wet on the west coast of norway. the precipitation will spread to finland and northwestern portions of russia in the next 24 hours. it should be mostly dry upped that system. 3 in warsaw, above average in
london, 14 degrees, and 18 in lisbon. that's it for me now. here is the extended forecast. japanese prime minister yoshihiko noda plans to pledge assistance worth 2 trillion yen or about $26 billion to asean to help the regional block strengthen its unity. asean aims to develop into an economic community by 2015. it's working to improve regional integration through measures
liken hansing infrastructure and standardizing customs procedures. noda will announce the aid to asean at a summit meeting with block leaders friday. he hopes it will expand infrastructure exports and infrastructure in the region. japan will participate in 33 projects. these include improving major roads and airports, introducing efficient customs procedures, and launching disaster prevention observation satellites. japan will also engage in fund-raising efforts in cooperation with the asean development bank. aside from the aid plan, noda will back japan's support for research on a road building project to link the port town in southern myanmar to the thai border. the assistance is to encourage construction of roads crossing the region. through the measures, the japanese government hopes to boost relations with asean to counter china's growing influence in southeast asia. that wraps up this edition of "newsline."